Ethiopia’s government has signed an agreement to end hostilities with the Oromo Liberation Front, which it had previously declared a terrorist movement, state television reported on Tuesday.
The deal appeared another step in a drive by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to improve security and diplomatic relations, reform institutions and open parts of the state-controlled economy.
Since the 1970s, the rebels have fought a low-level insurgency for self-determination for the Oromiya region, which is Ethiopia’s largest and home to the Oromo ethnic group.
The OLF was initially part of a transitional government set up in 1991 by rebels from the EPRDF coalition who had driven Mengistu Haile Mariam from power, but they soon fell out with the coalition.
On Tuesday, the government signed a reconciliation agreement to end hostilities with the OLF’s exiled leader Dawud Ibsa, who lives in exile in Asmara, the capital of neighbouring Eritrea, said Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel.